This was the second time I raced the beautiful La Jolla Half Marathon. I definitely have a preference for triathlons over straight running events, but I make an exception for this one. The course is just beautiful and there are two challenging hills to contend with.
My time this year was about 1.5 minutes slower than last year – essentially going from an average 8:55 minute mile to a 9:05. The hills seemed just as hard! Nevertheless, my nutrition strategy really went perfectly this time – one Shot Block every 20 minutes, and water at every hydration station. Because this race is so well supported, there’s no shortage of stations, and I felt very well hydrated throughout. I also experimented with compression leggings, which may or may not have made any difference (my legs felt fine during the race, and were sore afterwards as usual).
I guess I could be tempted by the America’s Finest City Half, which is part 3 of the “Triple Crown” in this series, and maybe the Carlsbad race as well – we’ll see if my schedule allows it.
This is probably one of the prettiest courses I’ve ever run, and also has the benefit of being five minutes from my parent’s house where I grew up. It is also a difficult course, with a decent hill up from the beach to Torrey Pines and then another, smaller hill in La Jolla that hits you right before the end. I had the benefit of having run much of the course many, many times before when I go home to visit the family.
Going up to Torrey Pines is a great training run. You go from the beach up the grade, do a very scenic loop on the Guy Fleming Trail (not part of the half-marathon course), and then continue up past the visitor center to Broken Hills Trail where you can descend again back to the beach (also not part of the actual course). The half-marathon follows much of this route.
Being a Lazy Athlete, I didn’t spend much time training, and did a 11 mile run the week before on the Waterfront Trail in Port Angeles (incidentally, the site of the Port Angeles Half-Marathon, which I ran the previous year). Since the weather in Seattle has been wet, I’ve done most of my running indoors on a treadmill. I usually do four 7:30 minute miles, which is convenient to do before I get on the 7:55 AM ferry to Seattle. Sometimes I will do three 7 minute miles instead, but mostly lately it’s been these sort of quick workouts.
Anyway, my lackadaisical training schedule served me OK for the race, and I didn’t have any problems. I did a sub-two hour race on a tough course, which was my target, so I was happy.